A is for

April 1, 2014

A is for…

apathy.  You hear a lot of talk about apathy in public education.  The kids have it, don’t want to do their work, aren’t motivated to learn, don’t care about the consequences.  The administrators are accused of it, as are colleagues, parents, legislators—ignorance and apathy.

Many teachers who are honest with themselves admit that they feel it, too, in their deepest heart chambers.  For instance, I find it harder and harder to grade every year, even this year with a reduced teaching load.  And while I don’t believe it actually is a result of apathy, per se, it certainly looks the same on the surface, derives the same results, and because of this, I am often tempted to dub it apathy and then use it as a familiar stick against myself.

Into the space of apathy, however, I seek to inject an antidote—activity, perhaps.  When I feel sluggish and unmotivated, perhaps the thing to do is something, to get up and move, to take a short walk, to do a small series of squats and downward dog.  Or perhaps appreciation—the intentional and specific practice of gratitude is demonstrated, both medically and anecdotally, to treat apathy and depression.  My yoga instructor recently recommended a gratitude journaling practice, but with more parameters than I was accustomed to observing.  Each journal entry should address three things…and none of them can be repeated.

It’s helping.  I need to remember to extend that appreciation to myself, as well.  I haven’t made my own gratitude list yet.  Baby steps.

6 thoughts on “A is for

  1. Tell me about it, girlfriend. Apathy in students I can understand. But in me? Thanks for the encouraging word. Day by day I combat the sluggish desire to become one of the quitters.

    • I understand, Laura! That “sluggish desire” you speak of is a tough one. First we’re afraid of failure, and then, inscrutably, we’re afraid of success. Or something like that. Weird. Humans are a funny bunch. LOL. If nothing else, though, these groups we’ve been a part of have helped keep me from being “one of the quitters.” I couldn’t handle the shame of having to tell people like you that I gave up. Thanks for that. 🙂

  2. Apathy is contagious and seems to exist throughout the public sector. One way I’ve found to escape it is to focus on a small thing I can do to improve the situation. Unfortunately, sometimes it is so exhausting that I have no energy to keep the same attitude when I get home.

    • I hear you, Donna. I know if I try to solve the problems of the world, it only siphons my energy and ironically gives me permission to stay motionless. I like your strategy of identifying one small thing I can do…and then doing it. I know about the exhaustion; I’m just trying to be responsible for myself, to myself.

      Thank you for visiting! I just enjoyed some time over at your blog, too, and left a few comments.

    • Thank you so much for visiting, Melinda! The apathy is especially strong (along with the fear) when it’s a task I don’t want to do… (ahem-thesis-cough-cough).

      It’s been raining steadily until today, so I’ve only take a couple of deer photos. Will seek to remedy that today, given the current state of sunshine. I’ll post any that are worth sharing. Looking forward to getting out there.

Overheard at a kiln: "The main teaching of all religions is, don't be a dick." You heard the man--comment away, but...you know...

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